The Pyrenees: Places to Explore

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Hecho and Ansó Valleys

The Valle de Ansó is Aragón's western limit. Rich in fauna (mountain goats, wild boar, and even a bear or two), it follows the Veral River up to Zuriza. Towering over the head of the valley is Navarra's highest point, the 7,989-foot Mesa de los Tres Reyes (Plateau of the Three Kings), named not for the Magi but for the kings of Aragón, Navarra, and Castile, whose 11th-century kingdoms bordered here, allowing them to meet without leaving their respective realms. The Selva de Oza (Oza Forest), at the head of the Hecho Valley, is above the Boca del Infierno (Mouth of Hell), a tight draw where road and river barely squeeze through.

It's worth stopping at the pretty village of Ansó, where a preserved collection of stone houses are tightly bunched together along narrow cobbled streets dominated by the oversized Gothic church of San Pedro overlooking the valley. Try to be there on the last Sunday in August, when residents dress in their traditional medieval costumes and perform ancestral dances of great grace and dignity. If heading to this area from Jaca, keep your eye out for the town of Aragüés del Puerto if you wish to explore the adjacent Echo and Ansó valleys.

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